Laura Llovet provides an in-depth review of the Axo Talon Women's Suit.
Axo Talon Women's Suit – An In-Depth Review
It’s stood the test of time, and plenty of crashes: my Axo Talon Women's suit definitely has battle scars and tears due to my tumbles, but it somehow kept itself together (for the most part) ‘til the end. I had this suit for three years before I decided it was time to retire, and get custom-made leathers. It was time.
We are going to start with the cons of this suit, with the main downside being the fit. Before I go on about this, I must state that this isn’t a unique problem to this Axo suit: I’ve previously voiced my opinion about buying women’s gear – especially online. This suit isn’t sold in stores (that I’ve seen), so you have to rely on the given size chart (see below), which, if you properly measure yourself, is somewhat accurate.
When you order something online and there’s a size chart, you take your measurement and order the size based on your largest measurement. So for example, if your waist is the biggest measurement, purchase the size that will fit your waist.
The bad thing about ordering something not tailored to your body is that you run the risk of other areas being too big, which is not a good thing. You want a one-piece suit to fit snug to ensure that the armor hugs your body and doesn’t move around. Also, leather tends to stretch out a bit, so you need to keep this in mind, too.
Now, the next thing I’m going to say will not make me sound smart at all, but I don’t care because it’s a story that needs to be told. When I first ordered the Axo suit, I didn't follow the measurement rule I stated above. For some reason (and to this day I don’t know why), I decided to choose my size based on what I wore in my riding gear, which is a size 40 jacket and size 42 pant; so I ordered a size 42. I will defend this past decision on the fact that I rarely ordered clothing – or gear – on the internet. So, I was a bit naïve okay?
Anywho, of course the suit didn’t fit; I couldn’t even get it past my upper thigh. So, I ordered a size up – a 44. That came in and that didn’t fit either. For whatever reason, I decided to go big or go home, so I ordered the biggest size, which is a 48. This size fit fine around my lower torso (my biggest measurement), but wasn’t as snug as a suit should be. I had a bit of room on my upper body as well as around my lower thigh/knee area.
My hips don't lie! The suit fit well around that area, but I had a bit of room around my arms and lower legs. Photo by Oxymoron Photography.
As I stated above, ill-fitting leathers can lead to severe consequences if your armor isn’t where it should be during a crash. I crashed earlier this year, and that resulted in a rock penetrating the knee portion of the suit and striking my right kneecap because the armor was pulled away while I slid. Fortunately, nothing broke, but I did get one gnarly flesh wound and a permanent scar.
Just a flesh wound that left a permanent purple-ish scar.
To continue with the above topic, the Axo suit is made of 100-percent cowhide leather; however, even though cowhide is pretty durable, sharp objects (like rocks) can penetrate it. That said, most one-piece suits are leather because it’s still the most durable material for motorcyclists to wear.
To help with fit, the suit also comes with stretch panels around the calf, under the sleeve, and around the groin area. Even though I got the largest size available and didn’t benefit from them, these panels are ideal for anyone who is in between sizes and chooses to (bravely) go with the smaller size.
As for the armor, it’s placed in all the right spots: shoulders, elbows, and knees. There’s also an insert made to put in a back protector, but I strongly recommend getting a “stand-alone” back protector because you can get one that covers more of your back’s surface area. For that purpose, the suit also has a “racer” streamlined hump to help out, too – just in case.
When suit shopping, look for the hump! Why? Because it makes you look fast.
Breathability is, overall, pretty good. The suit is perforated, which is important to me since I do track days and race in really hot conditions. The Axo suit also comes with an antibacterial and anti-sweat fabric. As for the latter, it doesn’t work (for me at least). When I first got the suit, I didn’t wear anything special in regards to an undersuit; I mainly wore workout pants and a short-sleeve T-shirt. When I did sweat (What felt like half of gallon of water out my body) things got a bit sticky. Also, without access to a science lab I can’t say if the suit really is antibacterial, but I can tell you that once the track/season was over, it stunk a bit.
Speaking of having a smelly suit, the Axo one is very easy to disassemble and clean. However, just because it’s easy to take apart, doesn’t mean the process isn’t time-consuming. Removing armor, liner and then washing and treating the suit does take patience. But if you do it well, the suit will come out looking like new.
Once you have a squeaky new and/or clean suit, you will be able to admire the black/white/silver color scheme – because that’s the only option you have. Unfortunately, the Talon suit is limited in choice, so that can technically be a con to some, since color – especially vibrant color – helps you stand out from the crowd.
Just blending on over here, folks. Photo by Oxymoron Photography.
The earlier rock story was actually my last crash in the Axo suit. Prior to this incident, I had "tested" it four other times. The first time I went down was a simple low side at Sonoma Raceway; the second time I crashed was a highside that resulted in a few scuffs on the shoulder, as well as some tears in the stretch panel found near the elbows.
The suit suffered some holes.
The third and fourth time I crashed were lowsides that added some more scuffs on the leg and butt section of the suit. Eventually, the Velcro attachment on the knee started to come apart, leaving that part exposed (the rock did not penetrate this portion).
There's a bit of an opening there...
This is where the rock penetrated.
Ultimately, after three years of use, I had to retire this suit because I needed something that fit me well and was a bit more durable. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated its longevity, especially since the price point for this suit isn’t all that bad.
The Axo Talon suit retails at $800 on its website; however, I would not buy it from there. Instead, I would go over to Sportbike Track Gear and pick it up there, since it they're selling it at $599.95. Additionally, if you’re a road/flat track racer and need a suit, you can head over to Hookit.com and apply for the Axo Alliance sponsorship, which can give you an even bigger discount on the suit.
This is a suit that has what I consider to be the bare minimum when it comes to required features: it’s leather, has armor, and is perforated. The suit is not terrible, but it’s not exceptional — it fits the bill of “you get what you pay for.”
Of course, a custom-made suit would be the ideal situation for any track day/road racing lady. However, these usually cost double (or more) than what this suit costs. For the price of the Axo Talon suit, I would definitely recommend it for the budget-conscious rider. But please make sure it fits correctly—the suit will perform better and protect better if it fits as snugly as possible.